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Coronavirus

After False Positives, Mass. Suspends Coronavirus Testing Lab

September 9, 2020

BOSTON — State officials in Massachusetts said a Boston-based coronavirus testing lab that counts dozens of nursing homes among its clients has been suspended by the state after it returned nearly 400 false positive tests.

The Massachusetts Department of Public Health said in a statement Tuesday that it opened an investigation in early August after it became aware of an unusually high positive rate of COVID-19 tests reported by Orig3n Laboratory.

Retests found at least 383 false positives that were actually negative.

The state late last month notified Orig3n of “three significant certification deficiencies that put patients at immediate risk of harm,” including failure of the lab’s director to provide overall management and a failure to document the daily sanitizing of equipment used for coronavirus testing.

The department said the state issued the genetics lab a statement of deficiency last Friday, and the lab must now respond with a written plan of correction by Sept. 14.

Orig3n spokesman Tony Plohoros told Gannett New England, which first reported the story last week, that the false positives were due to “human error” and the lab is working with state health officials to correct problems at the facility.

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